Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bran Quiz

1. What film hit you at the right place and right time, pertaining to and illuminating things that were happening in your life the moment you saw it?

Like Cheddar, I'm not one for allowing movies to illuminate things that are happening in my life (it's the same with music/lyrics). But if I have to choose something, I think I'll go with 2002's ORANGE COUNTY. My senior year of high school, I wanted to be a writer but was afraid I wouldn't be able to pursue that, and I would be stuck in my awful hometown for life. But thankfully, as you all know, I've moved away from Oxford and I've been dubbed the next Jonathan Franzen by various literary magazines. Good things come to those with no talent.

2. What would be your top 5 ranked Pixar films?

1. WALL-E
2. Toy Story
3. Ratatouille
4. Up
5. Brave

This is probably a boring list, so I'll just add that there are some Pixar movies I've staunchly avoided. MONSTER'S INC. was one I avoided for a while. But when I did end up seeing it, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm sure I'd have a similar reaction to THE INCREDIBLES and possibly FINDING NEMO--both I still have yet to see. I'm going to continue to avoid CARS, though...based on what I've heard and so that I can continue my long-standing Larry the Cable Guy boycott.

3. To reiterate Cheddar's question... what movie/movies had the biggest negative effect on you?

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM is a good answer. ANTICHRIST too, but I haven't felt the desire to see it because I know that it would destroy my mind. As you all know, I love, love, love SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK but I couldn't speak for about twenty minutes after I saw it. Had I opened my mouth to talk about it, I would've broken down completely.

4. What seasons seem to inspire you to see and write about films the most and least?

The winter is pretty rough. Post-December, there's not much to see. By the time spring rolls around, I really miss going to the theater. Summer has some hits, but mostly misses; something interesting stuff, though. The fall is really the best time, in my opinion, for seeing movies. As far as writing is concerned, I think this blog is evidence for the fact that I'm not often inspired to write about them. But when I am, it's a great feeling.

5. What are five movies that you love that you feel comfortable never seeing again?

"Love" and "never" are strong words. I really liked BLUE VALENTINE but maybe I won't ever watch it again; hell, I probably will at some point. I don't love any of the following movies, but I liked them at one time or another and I'll probably never watch them again: SIGNS, JUNO, AN EDUCATION, THE FIGHTER, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES.

6. What anticipated 2013 film/films are you feeling the most uneasy about expectation wise?

MUD is one, only because I've gotten the impression from Jeff and others that it doesn't exactly build off of the great work Jeff Nichols has already done. I think we're all mostly fans of his and we want to see a nice progression with each film. I really hope ONLY GOD FORGIVES is a great time at the theater and obviously critics have been tearing into it. So that should be interesting. TO THE WONDER, definitely.

7. Likewise, what former favorite actors are trudging down dangerous territory for you, also what actors have already strayed down the path to the point in which their name now means nothing?

Man, Brandon...you're a jerk. Jeff and I were talking to someone recently (probably Brandon or Cheddar) and I think Jeff made the point that Ryan Gosling was sort of wearing out his welcome a bit. I don't know that I'd settle on him for my answer, but I thought that was an interesting point.

I think THIS IS THE END could be a turning point for me. I still like Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and the rest of that crew...but maybe I won't like the movie and I'll grow out of liking them a bit.

And hey, Vince Vaughn used to be a legit actor...clearly I'm just fucking around now.

8. What is your take on a screenwriter's impact on a film's success, in other words, how much of an auteurist are you?

As Cheddar mentioned, I have a massive amount of respect for the directors who write their own scripts. We were talking about this a bit at Graham's. Gentile is an auteurist...Brandon is not anymore. Mostly, I don't buy into the auteur theory. But as I said on Sunday, I recognize that David Fincher and other directors, despite not writing the scripts, review and approve every word of them.

But I definitely agree with Brandon in that filmmaking is a collaborative effort; simply slapping an "author" label on a film isn't fair to the handful or hundreds of people who worked on it. Not to mention the fact that without producers/backers, these projects wouldn't even get off the ground.

The coach/manager of a professional soccer team sets up tactics and picks the guys who will play in games. Like that of a director, it's a position of power, control, and oversight. But the guys on the team still need to perform and play well in order for that team to be successful.

As far as screenwriters are concerned, they definitely play a big part. But it's really a matter of how respected a screenwriter is that determines his or her influence on a film. A guy like Tony Kushner deserves a ton of credit for LINCOLN. But those who are getting their first scripts greenlit are always pushed to the sideline, have no input whatsoever, and their script will be altered by the director, the producers, and/or an actual successful, seasoned screenwriter.

9. What types of "provocative" cinematic trends/ideas still feel fresh, which seem to be losing their oomph in the modern age of self-awareness?

I know we're all gonna give subjective answers here, but are there any provocative trends that are sort of universally seen as losing some oomph? I don't feel like there are. I think trends only exaggerate with time. People keep pushing that envelope and even if something grows stale, it's stuffed in a closet for a few years and then it's brought back. I realize I'm being vague here, but I just wanted to make that general point. The torture porn stuff still has an audience even though that shit got old the moment HOSTEL's closing credits rolled.

David Cronenberg is probably better off being provocative (though EASTERN PROMISES and A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE are exceptions to that).

10. What's your favorite horror film of the 1990s?

SLEEPY HOLLOW. It's pretty great.

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